The Welsh Government has announced it will match the funding for the initial design and planning stage for a proposed convention centre development at Newport’s five-star golf hotel, Celtic Manor Resort. News agency Walesonline.co.uk reported the funding to be £500,000.
Economy Minister Edwina Hart made the announcement today (20 November) that the funding would provide the Celtic Manor management with the support it needs to submit the Welsh International Convention Centre scheme for outline planning consent in 2014.
If approved, the £40-60m centre looks to be the largest convention facility of its kind in Wales, or the south west of the UK with a capacity of up to 4,000 delegates. The WalesInternational Convention Centre would have the capacity to attract much bigger events to Wales like political party conferences, international summits and showpiece conferences for multinational, blue chip companies and large associations.
“I am pleased we are able to support the vision of Sir Terry Matthews and his team at Celtic Manor, to build on the successes and track record of the existing venue and, subject to planning consents, take forward proposals to create a world-class convention centre in south Wales,” says Hart. “The proposed Wales International Convention Centre at Celtic Manor would be able to compete on size and quality with any other comparable venue across the border, attracting more business and business people, including international delegates, to the south east Wales City Region area and help drive growth in the Welsh economy.”
Celtic Manor Resort Chairman Sir Terry Matthews, who says the centre is forced to turn away £100m worth of business each year due to size limitations, adds: “It makes me proud to be working with the Welsh Government to deliver the International Convention Centre that Wales so badly needs.
“Development of this convention centre will ensure that we attract significant new business to Wales. It will rival any convention facility in Europe and act as a magnet for major events, bringing huge benefits to the Welsh economy.”
The new convention centre would allow Wales to compete for major conference business with destinations like Liverpool, Dublin and Edinburgh, where economic benefit to the city region has been reported at more than £350m since its international convention centre opened in 1995.
The Celtic Manor Resort is hosting the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Summit (NATO) Summit
on 4-5 September 2014 and Matthews hopes to commence construction following that.
Up to 60 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, are expected to attend the NATO Summit at Celtic Manor and associated events in the surrounding area will provide a significant boost to the South Wales economy.
The proposed development would be fully integrated with the existing convention centre at The Celtic Manor which already holds the Caernarfon Suite, for up to 1,500 delegates, and an additional 31 syndicate and meeting rooms.
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